Families who regularly eat meals together are less likely to have overweight or unhealthy children, according to new research.
Nutritionists found that kids who have a structured meal time with their parents consume more fruit and vegetables than those from homes where gathering around the dinner table is not the norm.
And the more a family eats together, the less likely the youngsters are to tuck into junk foods and develop childhood obesity.
American researchers at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, came to their conclusions after examining the results from 68 previously published academic studies.
They discovered that those who regularly eat together obtain "numerous benefits … including increased intake of fruits, vegetables, fibre, calcium-rich foods, and vitamins."
Jennifer Martin-Biggers, a nutritional sciences doctoral student at Rutgers, said: "People who have more frequent family meals tend to have better diets."
Biggers also admitted that children in such families also tended to fare better at school.
Copyright Press Association 2012